It’s amazing to see so many people who are prepared to sacrifice their lives for the sake of their business. I’m sure you know of someone like that. They get up at the crack of dawn, drag their weary bodies out of the house and head off for another rollercoaster ride at work. Ten or twelve hours later they head home totally exhausted with all their energy sapped from their body.
They might make the effort to find out how the rest of their family’s day has been, even read their children a bed-time story. Finally after having something to eat, taking a hot shower or bath, they then veg out on the couch. They immerse themselves in the newspaper (again) or watch the news or some mindless television show (if they don’t fall asleep beforehand).
Of course there are many others that never switch off. They spend the minimum amount of time with their family and then race off into their home office and keep working until they can’t keep their eyes open…what a life!
I made a follow-up call to a gentleman who initially had contacted me earlier this year. He was interested in getting coached as his business and his life was in turmoil. Bill has run his own travel agency for many years with 3 employees. There were many issues affecting the situation he was currently in and one major one was the fact that he never had the time together with the right knowledge to work ‘on’ his business.
He never invested any time or energy in making his business better. Sure he attended ‘professional development’ days run by but these were on technical aspects of being travel agency owner. He lacked business and life skills – how to run his business effectively and profitably. One of his key headaches was like many business owners attracting and retaining good people. His health was also suffering from the stress and the fact that he never did anything to invest in his personal well-being.
Being a procrastinator, Bill didn’t go ahead with coaching…he did what he’s always done – he puts things off. I followed up with him this week to see how he was going and you know what happened? I’d just caught him as he was heading out the door…heading into hospital for bowel surgery!
This was one situation he couldn’t put off or say he didn’t have time for.
If you’ve ever heard me speak at a conference or business event you may have heard me read the following article by Cheryl Richardson which really rings true and makes you realise it’s up to you to take charge:
"I never seemed to be able to make time for the things that mattered most to me. For years I believed that if I could just learn to manage my time more efficiently I’d be able to handle it all. It wasn’t until I hired my first personal coach that I realized it wasn’t about time management at all–it was about self-management.
‘I have no time for my life’ was the most common complaint I’d hear from clients who hired me as a personal coach to help them create more balanced lives. Although they’d say their family or their health was a top priority, their schedules reflected something very different.
The "in-box of life" never empties. Our fast-paced, adrenaline-based culture will trap you into believing that you’ll finally be able to relax once you make that one last phone call, finish one final project, or respond to one last e-mail. But, if you keep waiting for your to-do list to be completed, you’ll miss your life.
Schedule time for your life. Put it in your weekly calendar (in ink!) and hold this time as sacred. When someone calls to make plans during that time (and they will), simply smile and tell them you’re unavailable.
Guilt is good. When you start saying no to those things that you’d really rather not do (like helping a friend move for the second time, or taking on the extra project at work that will keep you up at night), you’ll most likely feel some guilt. Let guilt be a sign that you’re on the right track. Look for opportunities to practice saying no. After all, you can’t take time for your life without learning to disappoint others first.
Play by new rules. As technology continues to bombard us with information and we become slaves to other people’s agendas, it will be more important than ever to set limits. Protect your peace of mind. Turn the ringer off on the phone. Check your e-mail or voicemail only once or twice a day. Tell people that you’ll respond to calls and e-mails within a week instead of the politically correct 24-hour period. Remember, this is your life we’re talking about!
Stop juggling and start living! It’s time to let a few balls drop. Here are some of the balls I’d recommend you let go of first: trying to please everyone; trying to be a star at the expense of your life; trying to do everything perfectly; and, trying to do everything. Kiss your "good girl" or "good boy" role goodbye–it will rob you of your life!
A high-quality life has more to do with what you remove from your life than what you add to it. So, instead of looking at what you’d like to add to your life in the New Year, focus on clearing out the old. Clear out the clutter, let go of the obligations that make you feel resentful, and challenge the people who drain your energy to stop. Trust me, as you dedicate the next year to your self-care, you’ll be a much better person to be around."
The Final Word
It’s all down to you. Identify what you want to change in your business and your life and if you are serious about changing, take the necessary action and start right now!
Have a great day!
Adrian Caruso – CEO, TA Fastrack